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Science, Stress, and Human Health


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New insights into human stress may promise advances in treating and coping with anxiety related disorders, trauma caused by war or natural disasters, and addiction—or even for combating the effects of aging. Stressful situations trigger “fight-or-flight” mechanisms among vertebrates, based on ancient evolutionary adaptations. Building on earlier theoretical work, today’s researchers are revealing how genetic, developmental, psychological, environmental, and social factors may affect individual stress-response mechanisms. Cutting-edge investigations, showcased in this seminar, are helping to explain how stress affects the brain, the immune system, cellular aging, behavior, and many other aspects of human health.

Welcome


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Alan I. Leshner

Chief Executive Officer, AAAS, and Executive Publisher of the journal Science
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Keynote Lecture


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Robert Sapolsky

John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University

Stress-Related Disorders and Society
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Questions & Answers: Robert Sapolsky
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The Biology of Stress


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Richard I. Morimoto

Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology and Director, Rice Institute for Biomedical Research

Protein Misfolding and Neurodegenerative Disorders
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Firdaus Dhabhar

Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and Immunology Program; Director of Research, Center on Stress & Health, Stanford University

A Hassle a Day May Keep The Doctor Away: Short-Term Stress and the Augmentation of Immune Function
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Darlene Francis

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, Psychology and Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Genetics and the Stress Connection
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Questions & Answers: Richard I. Morimoto, Firdaus Dhabhar, and Darlene Francis
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Social Factors, Behavior, and Physical Impacts


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Martha J. Farah

Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

Stress, Poverty, and Brain Development
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David M. Diamond

Research Career Scientist, Medical Research Division, Tampa Veterans Hospital; Director, Center for Preclinical and Clinical Research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; and Professor of Psychology, Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, University of South Florida

From the African Savannas to the Bench and into the Clinic: A Translational Approach to the Study and Treatment of Emotional Trauma
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Markus Heilig

Chief, Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health

Stress, Addiction, and Relapse Behaviors
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Questions & Answers: Martha J. Farah, David M. Diamond, and Markus Heilig

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Psychology and Future Treatments


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Joseph LeDoux

University Professor and Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science, Center for Neural Science, New York University

Fearful Brains in an Anxious World
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Bruce P. Dohrenwend

Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health and Foundations Fund for Research in Psychiatry Professor, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

The Stressor Criterion in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Some Background, Issues, Evidence, and Implications
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Steven E. Hyman

Provost and Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard University

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Questions & Answers: Joseph LeDoux, Bruce P. Dohrenwend, and Steven E. Hyman
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Closing Remarks


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Alan I. Leshner

Chief Executive Officer, AAAS, and Executive Publisher of the journal Science
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Past Abelson Advancing Science Seminars

“New Horizons in Polar Science” [30 October 2007]

“Microbes, Minerals, and the Environment” [26 October 2006]

“New Directions in Health”: The Global Burden of Chronic Disease [8 December 2005]

The Abelson Advancing Science Seminar Series Advisory Committee

AAAS thanks the Abelson Advancing Science Seminar Series Advisory Committee whose support was critical in developing the 2007 program. Members included colleagues and family members of Dr. Abelson who helped preserve his vision.

John Abelson

Ellen Abelson Cherniavsky

Mr. and Mrs. John P. Cherniavsky

Neva Cherniavsky

Stephen P.A. Fodor

Claire Fraser-Liggett

Maxine Frank Singer